Congressional Delegation to Visit Convicted Servicemen at Ft. Leavenworth

“UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE”

by Sharon Rondeau

Ft. Leavenworth prison, 1858 (public domain)

(Sep. 14, 2019) — A newsletter issued on September 7, 2019 by United American Patriots (UAP) announced that a group of congressmen will be traveling to the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, KS to meet with four service members sentenced to lengthy terms for alleged misconduct on the battlefield in the War on Terror at various times.

The trip and visit will take place on September 17, which is Constitution Day.

Founded in 2005 as a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization by Maj. Herbert William “Bill” Donohue, Jr. (Ret), UAP provides funding for the defense of service members accused and/or convicted of “war crimes” or in instances where “unlawful command influence” played a role, according to the organization’s website.

UAP has had considerable success in its defense of service members in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.  In addition to legal and logistical support, the group provides assistance for veterans re-entering civilian life.

UAP assisted Sgt. Lawrence Gordon Hutchins, III, one of the “Pendleton 8” accused of war crimes in Hamdania, Iraq.

On Tuesday The Post & Email interviewed UAP CEO and Board member David “Bull” Gurfein, a 25-year retired military Lt. Col., who told us that four congressmen plan on making the trip on September 17.

Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX1) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA50) are among the four, Gurfein said.  In addition to the congressmen, a warrior who received support from UAP, Derrick Miller, and an attorney representing one of the incarcerated warriors will be making the trip and possibly some congressional staffers, according to Gurfein.

When we asked Gurfein what raised the interest of the congressmen in going to Leavenworth, he responded, “I’d like to believe our organization is the one that raised the interest. One of our primary missions is raising awareness for the President of the United States, for our congressmen and women, and for the general public. This is something we’ve been doing for many years now and is another step along the way in ensuring that we see justice for our warriors.”

“Do you know if the congressmen committed to going are recipients of your newsletters or otherwise know about your organization?” The Post & Email asked.

“I know for certain that at least two of the congressmen who are going are personally aware.  I’ve met personally with Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas and Congressman Duncan Hunter from California.”

“How long do they plan to stay?”

“It’s going to be a day trip. They’ll be going in and meeting with four of our unjustly incarcerated warriors and then they’ll be coming right back. As far as I know, this is the first time a congressional delegation has gone to Ft. Leavenworth.”

“Do you know if the congressmen will hold a press conference afterward?”

“There was some discussion about it, and I don’t know where that stands right now as to whether or not media will be joining them on the trip or if they’ll do a press conference.  Part of this right now is just to actually meet the warriors, put a face to a name, and understand what’s going on here.  One of the big drivers behind this as well is Sgt. Derrick Miller, who was unjustly accused of a war crime, convicted and incarcerated for premeditated murder and put away for life.  Our organization supported him and we were able to fund his legal defense and parole hearings.  We were able to get his sentence commuted down to 20 years, which made him eligible for parole.  We then supported his parole hearings and he was released after eight years.  We’re still fighting to clear his name.

“Congressman Gohmert spoke at the hearing.  I was able to get Congressman Elijah Cummings’s chief of staff to speak at his parole hearing.  I was there representing the hundreds of thousands of people behind United American Patriots.  We had Sgt. Miller’s mother there with us as well.  Retired Lt. Col. Colby Vokey was the lead attorney for all of this that made it happen.  It was a joint effort only made possible from all of the support from the various people across the nation who provide support for UAP.

“With all that being said, Sgt. Miller feels honor-bound to now go back to fight for the other four warriors who were unjustly accused and incarcerated presently in Leavenworth.”

“Who are the four who will receive visits?” we asked.

“1st Lt. Clint Lorance; Master Sgt. John Hatley; Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs; and Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.”

“Have they been in touch with you about the upcoming visit?”

“Certainly, they’re very appreciative that their stories get told.  They want the truth to come out, not just for themselves, but for any other warriors who may be facing a similar situation. They’ve all faced unlawful command influence, prosecutorial misconduct and investigator abuse, and each one of these cases has really been a travesty of justice.  This is where we have one of the finest institutions in our society, our U.S. Armed Forces, which are manned by incredible volunteers, these warriors who swear to support and defend our rights, who then go in harm’s way on our behalf, and then all of a sudden they run into this “justice” system within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which has become corrupt and is not consistent with the values of our nation; it is not consistent with the values of our Armed Forces.  It’s disgraceful the way some of these senior leaders are allowing this perversion of justice and ignoring the Constitution and trampling on the rights of our warriors, all in the name of politics, careerism, and self-preservation.

“We’re hoping that this visit is a step in the right direction and this group represents the newly-formed caucus in Congress, which is called the Justice for Warriors Caucus. We’re hoping that this is the first of many congressional delegations and various oversight measures which are going to help preserve our warriors’ rights.  So this is significant and exciting to see.”

“Is the new caucus official?  Who formed it?”

“Yes, it is official.  It was formed by Congressmen Gohmert and Hunter.”

“They are both veterans themselves.”

“Rep. Hunter is a former Marine, and Rep. Gohmert served as an Army Advocate General.”

“Would you say there has been an increase is unjust accusations and convictions?  Is that why the organization formed?”

“Yes, that’s the reason the organization was established.  If you look back historically, in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, there were approximately seven accusations of war crimes. Since 9/11, we’re seen hundreds in the global war on terrorism.  Part of this is they’ve gone from an internal judicial system that was established originally for ‘good order and discipline’ that was headed up by line officers, warriors, commanders; they would fill the roles of the prosecutor and defense.  That wasn’t their profession; they were just told to go in, advocate on behalf of the accused and to look at all the facts and to try and get the information.  All the investigations were purely focused on finding the truth and what actually happened.

“What we’re seeing now is a professional Judge Advocate corps where if you’re in college and decide you want to become an attorney, you can get the U.S. government to pay for your law school as long as you provide a certain amount of return as an attorney in the military.  You have to go through about 16 weeks of orientation.  You’re not really a warrior who is now serving as an attorney; you’re an attorney who’s learned how to put on a military uniform.  So it’s a very different mindset, especially when addressing these cases that involve combat.

“For the most part, the JAGs in the Navy and the Army have never served in combat.  They may have gone into combat zones and been on military bases, but they have never engaged the enemy, so they don’t understand what it’s like to be in combat.  They are purely sitting here judging, prosecuting and moving forward in many cases for political or career reasons, and that’s unjust.

“These are the challenges we face.  The first few cases that UAP stood up were to support the Haditha Marines and the Hamdania Marines.  Our founder, Maj. Bill Donohue, is a retired U.S. Marine and Vietnam vet who had seen extensive combat, multiple Purple Hearts, is highly-decorated, and his perspective at the time was regardless of whether or not these warriors are ultimately found guilty or innocent, it is imperative that they receive the best possible legal defense that anyone can imagine.  We have held true to that ever since.  The reason is that those individuals swear to support and defend our rights, and they voluntarily go in harm’s way time and again on our behalf. So if anyone deserves the presumption of innocence, which is the basis of our judicial system in the U.S. — if anyone deserves full due process, which is what we demand within our Constitution, if anyone should be provided the protection of their rights, then certainly our warriors should be provided all of the above to the best extent possible.  We are seeing just the opposite.  They are not receiving the same fair and judicial treatment.

“For example, as horrific as it is nowadays, if an individual were to walk into a school and shoot children, and that was their intent, that individual here in the U.S. would receive far better treatment under the law than our warriors who are going overseas and are justly fighting for our causes.  So the individual who goes into a school will be assigned an attorney, and they’re not going to make any statements without their rights being read to them, and they’re going to be protected from injuring their own case.  The next thing that will happen is they’ll probably be evaluated for their mental sanity to see if they have what’s called the mens rea, which means, “Were these individuals insane when they were doing this, or was there something else going on where they did not understand that what they were doing was wrong?”

Those Who Will Receive Visits

Gurfein then provided background information on the four imprisoned soldiers who the congressional delegation will visit on Tuesday.  In his words:

Master Sgt. Robert Bales

We don’t get the same situation for, let’s say, a warrior like Bob Bales.  This individual, in combat, engaged Taliban combatants multiple times on multiple battlefields  and was told, without any evaluation of his mental well-being at the time even though we know he took mefloquine and we know there are detrimental psychological effects this anti-malaria drug has on our warriors and we know that others have actually gone home and killed family members while on this drug — we never gave him the benefit of the doubt; we never checked his mens rea; we never did a full mental evaluation.  Instead, the directive was, “You’re being convicted of mass murder, and we’re gong to take your life.  However, if you confess, we will spare your life and just incarcerate you for the rest of your life.”

So he confessed because he has a wife and two children.  His wife even moved closer to the prison because of the love she has for him, and the children actually go into the prison, and he helps them with their homework because that’s what an amazing individual he is and his relationship.  But the media has painted him as a monster because in his confession, he confessed to killing 16 civilians.

When I went and talked to him — I’ve met him face-to-face; I’ve met every one of these warriors — he explained to me that he didn’t kill 16 civilians. Rather, he said, “I killed 20.”  You wouldn’t have expected him to say he killed more; you have expected him to say less or none.  He then acknowledged, though, that they were not all civilians, and the reason that four were left off was probably because they were known Taliban leaders.  So he went out and took the initiative to engage the enemy, and he killed quite a few, and unfortunately — and he’ll even acknowledge to you that he did kill women and children which he feels horrible about and he says that it haunts him and he wished he hadn’t — however, they weren’t all civilians.

The irony is, in our nation, with our Rules of Engagement, that when our warriors engage the enemy, and, unfortunately, as horrible as it is, sometimes innocent civilians are killed, we don’t charge our warriors with murder; we actually call that “collateral damage.”  We understand that unfortunately, that’s the price of war, and recognize that there is a greater good.

Bob Bales was not given that presumption of innocence; he was not given that benefit of the doubt, and it was because of the political ramifications of what was going on at the time between the Obama administration and the Karzai administration and how they were trying to work to end the conflict in Afghanistan, and a part of it was that Bob Bales was painted as a murderer and the Afghan government was waiting to see how he would be handled.

Although the claim was made that he killed 16, not one body was actually presented to the U.S. government, so there was no forensic evidence, nothing to identify who these individuals were.  So we don’t know if they were civilians or if they were enemy combatants.  We assumed guilt as opposed to innocence; we paid out the “solacium(condolence) payments, which is when we are sorry that we did something wrong; the prosecutors, the command, investigators, everybody went as quickly as possible to condemn this individual. They wanted to close it as quickly as possible.  They pressured him to sign a confession; he signed the confession because he didn’t want his children to lose their father, and he’s been incarcerated ever since.

The pilot of the Enola Gay, who dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima, wasn’t convicted of murder, and I guarantee you there were plenty of civilians who were killed.  The warriors who go on the battlefield all the time and there are unfortunate civilian casualties are not convicted of murder.  The drone operator who engages a Taliban leader at a wedding party and kills many people, as horrible as it is — and we must assume that many of those people attending the wedding are not enemy combatants — they’re not charged with murder.  There will be people who will debate and say, “He’s guilty” or “He’s innocent.” Maybe, but our organization’s position is that he’s an American citizen, and he did not get his rights.

Master Sgt. John Hatley

This takes us to Master Sgt. Hatley, whose case is horrific.  Here’s an individual who ordered four people to be taken out of a village in Iraq, dragged out to some farm out in the middle of nowhere, lined up next to a canal, summarily executed, and kicked into the canal.  That’s pretty horrible — if it actually happened. But the problem is that there’s absolutely zero hard evidence of this crime.  As a matter of fact, the military put divers into the canal to dredge up the bodies to find, at least, the bullets or some casings or some shred of clothing — some evidence to show this crime occurred here.  They couldn’t find anything.

They asked the owner of the farm, “Do you recall this incident on this night?” Nothing. They went to the village where supposedly these people were taken, dragged out, screaming, and asked them, “Can you tell us the names of those individuals?” and they said, “What individuals?  We’re not missing anybody from our village.”

This whole story was concocted by an individual who was facing charges himself for wrongdoing and he said, “Have I got a story for you.”

Instead of really running it to ground and leading it off, the investigators said, “Let’s make sure we really get these guys,” and they put a wire on a junior enlisted guy to go and start trying to get more evidence.  They went in and started talking to these people who were supposedly involved in this killing, but they couldn’t get anything because there was nothing to talk about.

And then they said, “Alright, that’s not working; let’s pressure some junior enlisted guys into admitting to these crimes.”  And these guys said, “What do you mean?  We didn’t do anything.”  So they produced a false document with Master Sgt. Hatley’s signature on the bottom which said, “These guys killed individuals in cold blood and concocted this story.”  And the kids said, “The master sergeant said we did this?” So they said, “Well, you’re probably going to go to court-martial, and you can probably fight it, but there’s a 98% conviction rate in courts-martial.  Good luck fighting a murder charge.”

And they were like, “Whoa, wait a second…” So he said, “We’ll give you a lesser sentence, and it’s going to sting a little, but you’ll be out in a few years if you just say that the master sergeant was the one who did this.”

Again, did this, and this is what? A concocted story. Even in testimony, they hadn’t even rehearsed it well enough so that the corroborating evidence, the discussion and the witnesses, weren’t even matching up.  At the end of the day, it was such a horrific story that it didn’t even matter.  The master sergeant was going to prison, and that’s where he’s sitting right now.

The Post & Email asked the motivation for the promulgation of the false story, to which Gurfein responded:

Each player has a certain “why,” if you will.  The initial “why” was a staff sergeant that the master sergeant had identified as actually having inappropriate relations with junior female enlisted soldiers and then pressuring them to remain in those inappropriate relationships despite their not wanting to be a part of it.  Then he was physically abusive with subordinates and absolutely, from everything that we’ve heard, was just not a very savory character, and he realized that the gig was up and this master sergeant was taking him down.  So he saved his own hide by saying, “Wait a second; the master sergeant’s a murderer. As bad as you think I am, the master sergeant’s a murderer.”

Looking at motivations for other people, now the investigators say, “We can either run this one case down of this staff sergeant who’s acting inappropriately, or we can go after a murder case.  That would certainly get us promoted.”  So again, it plays to the careerism and not to the truth.  The same thing with the prosecutors.  Why would I want to prosecute this nominal crime vs. a capital murder?  That’s a feather in my cap right there that will definitely get me promoted and will certainly line me up for a big job when I get out in the civilian world.”

You can speculate, but there are a lot of reasons to realize why this may be the case.  So the argument is purely, “Produce the evidence.  Show us one shred of hard evidence to support Master Sergeant Hatley’s case.”  We’ve yet to see it.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs

That brings us to Staff Sgt. Gibbs.  Now his case is a little more challenging, and he’ll even acknowledge it.  A part of this is that Master Sgt. Gibbs was accused of murdering people in Afghanistan.  Part of this came from his engagement in Iraq, where a vehicle was heading toward a checkpoint that he was manning at night.  It came in at rapid speed, and he engaged with his automatic weapon and killed the driver and passengers inside the vehicle, and he saved lives and prevented people from going through this checkpoint.

The unfortunate part was that the people in the vehicle actually were unarmed civilians; it was a family, and one of the women was pregnant.  It was horrible, but he acted appropriately within the Rules of Engagement because the vehicle was coming toward him.  And just to be clear:  this wasn’t some random family that got lost; there’s no question in my mind that Al Qaeda didn’t say, “Look, you have a choice; you drive towards that checkpoint as fast as you can, and maybe the Americans will kill you, or you stay here, and we will certainly kill you.”

So these poor people were in a terrible situation. Obviously, they took their chances, but they were forced into this horrible situation.  But Staff Sgt. Gibbs was found to have acted appropriately.

When he went to Afghanistan, he talked to the soldiers, and he was a squad leader, and they asked, “What happens if we kill somebody by mistake, a civilian?”  The fact that the troops knew about all these different cases was obvious.  His response was, “As long as you act within accordance to the Rules of Engagement, your command will support you.”

Unfortunately, one individual, an unsavory character at best, either chose to misinterpret that or he intentionally decided to use it to his benefit, and said, “Well, the staff sergeant said we can do whatever we want as long as we say we follow the Rules of Engagement.”  So that was a perversion of what the staff sergeant said.  One is, “Do the right thing and you’ll be protected,” and the other is, “Do whatever you want and say you did the right thing.”

When all of a sudden it came out that this individual and others were conducting these horrible attacks on civilians because they wanted to get “kills” under their belt and were throwing grenades at individuals, shooting them and dropping a weapon, they realized they were going down. When they got caught, they said, “Not only did the staff sergeant say to do it, but he was there.”  But the staff sergeant wasn’t there.

However, and here’s the catch:  Staff Sgt. Gibbs unfortunately had decided to take war trophies from justifiable kills. He would take fingers and put tattoos on his body acknowledging the kills.  When I asked him, “Why did you do that?” he said, “I’m not a very smart man.  I just thought it was something warriors would do and it would be a conversation piece and a way to prove I got a kill,” which he acknowledges was very stupid, and he should be held accountable for that.  However, he also said, “I didn’t kill those people that they said I killed.”  But he was perceived as such a bad guy that it was easy to convict him of crimes he didn’t commit.  So this is the problem:  individuals must have the presumption of innocence, as horrible as they may be perceived, and regardless of what other things they may or may not have done in their past. They must be given the presumption of innocence on the specific allegations made against them.

Granted, with Staff Sgt. Gibbs, it’s a tough story because it’s hard to fully get behind a guy who’s done some challenging things that he recognizes he should be held accountable for.  That brings us to Clint Lorance.

1st Lt. Clint Lorance

Prior enlisted, such a stellar performer that the U.S. Army decided to send him to college and commission him as an officer of soldiers.  He was the first one in his family to go to college. He had served in combat successfully before and was well-respected for his performance as a non-commissioned officer.

Now he’s in Zhari, Afghanistan, known as the “Heart of Darkness” because it was the birthplace of the Taliban.  So not many people there were very supportive of any U.S. presence, especially U.S. military. While he was there, the month leading up to the incident of July 2, (2012), there was an IED going off just about every day, and sometimes two or three a day.  So soldiers were being wounded and killed; there were direct-fire engagements.  This was as bad as you could imagine engaging and being surrounded by the enemy.

While this was going on, Clint Lorance was in the Operations Center that’s observing all of the reports that are coming in, so he knew what was happening and all of the enemy’s techniques, tactics and procedures and recognized that it was a challenging environment.

All of a sudden, Lt. Latano ended up being blown up on the battlefield; he took shrapnel to his eyes, his face, his abdomen, and had to be medically-evacuated from the battlefield.  So the senior leadership had to decide who to put down there to take over this lieutenant’s place.  Of course, they were going to put someone who was highly competent, who they trust and respect, and they chose Lorance.

He was down there only three days, and within those three days, he was trying to tighten things up.  So people question, “Didn’t some of the soldiers testify against him?”  And there’s a mis-perception:  “Aren’t they all kind-of brothers? Doesn’t everybody get along? Why would that happen?”

Well, first of all, he’s a lieutenant; he’s the person in charge; he’s not there for a popularity contest.  He’s there to do the right thing, and sometimes he’s going to upset people, which he did, because there were things that were not being done properly and he went in there and started correcting them, which the troops didn’t like. So when he decided to take out a patrol after being there just three days and on the patrol, he was down in a cutout in the terrain in a grape berm where he couldn’t see what was happening. One of his soldiers engaged a motorcycle with three Taliban heading towards their patrol, and they were on a straight-line patrol in a minefield following a minesweeper because it’s such a tough terrain there and they don’t want to get blown up.

So this junior enlisted person shoots but misses.  However, his actions are consistent with the Rules of Engagement.  Why?  Because the previous lieutenant said, “We would never allow motorcycles anywhere near our platoon, because the enemy’s tactic, technique and procedure is using motorcycles to either use IEDs and blow up or drive by and shoot or whatever it might be.

Clint Lorance, who couldn’t see what was going on but is told there’s a motorcycle heading towards the position, turned to an overwatch vehicle that could see what was happening and tells them, “Engage.”  So they open up with their machine-gun and kill two of the three riders.  The patrol went on, and other parts of the patrol ended up engaging other enemy combatants that were trying to maneuver toward the position.

The eye-in-the-sky aerostat operator observed various things leading up to the incident, including armed Taliban with radios and weapons shadowing the patrol.  There was a Significant Action Report that said that Clint Lorance’s platoon was about to be ambushed or attacked, which is not surprising because the Taliban knew that there was a new lieutenant, and certainly they were going to test him.

So after the situation settled down and they went back and observed the two individuals killed who were on the motorcycle, the motorcycle and everything else had been taken away, and all you had were these “unarmed civilians.” So they ended up putting up a report that said they engaged unarmed civilians.  The administration was under pressure for all these accusations of killing unarmed civilians, and here’s a lieutenant who killed “unarmed civilians.”  So they came down and pulled the unit away from the lieutenant and they told nine soldiers, “You’re accomplices, and we’re charging you with murder.”  And they let them sit on that for a while.

And then they came back and said, “Alright, we’ll give you immunity as long as you testify against your lieutenant,” and they ordered them to testify, which they did.

The Post & Email:  I heard from one of them once, unsolicited.

I would ask him, “Were you charged with murder?” and if he’s honest, he’ll tell you he was, because we have all the charge sheets.  Again, what’s the motivation behind this?  Others have said, “Clint Lorance did this and this…”  Maybe. Just like Staff Sgt. Gibbs, he may not be a perfect person. We’re not claiming he’s perfect; we’re just claiming he didn’t commit murder.

He was convicted of two counts of murder.  But here’s the interesting thing:  At his case, information from the aerostat operator never came to bear. The Significant Action Report was hidden by the Army; they never introduced that as evidence.  The prosecutors kept referring to the individuals who were killed as “civilians.”  Remember, we at UAP funded the research to go back to Afghanistan, reach into the databases, compare what’s called the biometrics with the names of the individuals that we knew, which, by the way, the government had crossed out so that he wouldn’t be convicted of murdering specific individuals, but just of people who are “male of Afghan descent.”  So now all of a sudden, they whitewash this, and it’s harder to defend when it says you killed “a person” as opposed to you killed “this specific person.”  We found out the specific person wasn’t a civilian, but a known enemy combatant who had been associated with multiple improvised explosive devices that had wounded or killed other servicemen before.

This was brought up on appeal, and the judge said, “That would not have changed the verdict.”  Well, that’s not for the judge to determine; it’s for the jury to determine.  The jury has to have all of the information, and to suggest that combat warriors who were sitting there on the jury would not have seen a difference had Clint Lorance killed enemy combatants vs. enemy civilians I think is absolutely off-base.

It’s called “exculpatory evidence.”  By law, that must be revealed, and it was not. So all of this plays out to where Clint Lorance did not get a just trial. The one thing we know for a fact was he was charged with violating the Rules of Engagement, but that was the one charge of which he was found “not guilty.”  So even if these Taliban operatives on the motorcycle were civilians — which they weren’t — if he did not violate the Rules of Engagement, then he cannot be found guilty of murder. But he was.

When this was brought up on appeal, they came back and said, “Well, he violated the Rules of Engagement.” But that’s not what happened, so they were making up facts.  And it gets worse, because General Berger, who was the senior judge in charge of the appeals section for the Judge Advocate while Clint Lorance’s case was under appeal, spoke at a public forum at a My Lai conference about William Calley, who went into a village and killed hundreds of villagers, and Gen. Berger likened Clint Lorance to William Calley.  He even said, “Clint Lorance is a bad apple, and he chose to fight the war the way he wanted and violated the Rules of Engagement.”  Again, telling lies, and not consistent with the facts of the case.

So what ends up happening is if you’re the subordinate in that appeal section, and your boss is out there publicly saying that he violated the Rules of Engagement, you say, “Well, I guess the boss knows better than me,” so they kicked it back and he never got his case under appeal.

UAP supports taking this out of the military’s hands and putting it into federal court where it sits right now, and there’s a writ of habeas corpus which now allows a federal court to review all of the facts, and they’ve demanded the U.S. government provide evidence and support.  This is being reviewed as we speak, and there may be a hearing on this, or the judge could simply make a decision to dismiss the sentence. The whole thing could be wiped out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwti8leWqsQ

While this is happening, there’s a docu-series, a group of movies being produced for television on the Starz network talking about all of those things, and it will be released on October 20.  Gen. Burger is one of the generals talking in that trailer, wearing his dress blues.

It gets worse, because we had a congressman who was very interested in this, Congressman Graves of Louisiana, and we provided information to him, and he said he was going to bring this to the president and address this issue. What happened was he decided to do his due diligence, which is smart, and he brought it to the JAG of the Army, Gen. Pede, and said, “What do you think of the Clint Lorance case?” and he was supposedly told, “You don’t want to get involved in this, sir; he’s a bad apple; he violated the Rules of Engagement; I would just leave it alone.”

Well, Congressman Graves just dropped the whole thing because he believed we did not give him all the information, we were not reputable and credible and trying to just tell one side of the story.  So when he said, “Gen. Pede said he violated the Rules of Engagement,” our response was, “That’s not what was found in the court.”  So the question was, “Are you telling us that Gen. Pede, the Judge Advocate General of the Army, lied to us?” and I said, “I’m not saying that; you’re saying it. I don’t know what Gen. Pede said.”

So these are the challenges, and those are the four warriors they’re going to see out there in Ft. Leavenworth.  We are hoping, just like the recent cases that we were supporting where Seal Team 2 was accused of murder and we were able to have those convictions overturned for four Navy SEALS, and we were able to have Lt. Portier‘s case dismissed, and Eddie Gallagher; we initially supported his case.  We saw, time and again, prosecutor misconduct.  They were actually spying on the Gallagher defense team.

The Secretary of the Navy came out and said, “We’re going to do an investigation of our whole Naval JAG Corps and the criminal investigators, and we’re going to do the Marine Corps as well.”  So right now that’s an ongoing process; there’s a question as to whether or not they’ll be able to actually police their own and what they’re going to come out with.  We’re hoping that this trial with Clint Lorance is going to force the Secretary of the Army to do the same for their JAG Corps.

Perhaps this oversight body in Congress, or even the president, who is the commander-in-chief, comes out and says, “We’re going to do a full overhaul with congressional oversight of the whole UCMJ” and really see where this plays out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to "Congressional Delegation to Visit Convicted Servicemen at Ft. Leavenworth"

  1. OPOVV   Monday, September 16, 2019 at 6:22 PM

    Gee, after reading this editorial, I wonder if I should turn my self in after committing “war crimes” somewhere in Southeast Asia during the Year-of-Our-Lord: 1965.

    Did I shoot, well, I did but in so doing I saved myself and a few others from being – for sure – taken prisoner and – most likely – tortured and – perhaps – killed.

    I could paint a detailed picture of how it went down when it went down, but I don’t think so. You couldn’t even begin to imagine what is was like being cornered with no possible way out unless you behaved in such a depraved manner as to completely discard any semblance of whatever civilization one may have thought they had. The lust for life and the lust for blood becomes instantly the same animal, of which one becomes.

    I’m serious. So here’s what I propose: sorry, just changed my mind and I’ll tell you why: what’s the point? You have to step back and wonder who the real enemy is.

    Anyway, after I saw a bunch of our Marines killed on a beach because they were denied supporting artillery because, in the words of the Top Brass, “we expended our quota of ordinance for the day”, I realized, right then and there, that the real enemy of the “cannon fodder” — who were trapped in a situation that we really couldn’t get out of – was the Pentagon, the congress and the president, that is, everyone who was deathly afraid of China, just as Truman was during the Korean War, oh, sorry, police action, or was it a conflict?

    The problem is, the Pentagon doesn’t even know who the enemy is (or, for that matter, those over at State). Maybe tomorrow morning they’ll see who the enemy is as they look upon their reflection, as they’re about to shave, that is, if any of our troops could be so lucky, which I seriously doubt.

    But stranger things have happened, right?

  2. Fran   Monday, September 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    “For the most part, the JAGs in the Navy and the Army have never served in combat. They may have gone into combat zones and been on military bases, but they have never engaged the enemy, so they don’t understand what it’s like to be in combat.”

    We have a major problem in that people that have never been in combat are making the R.O.E.’s (Rules Of Engagement), that put our service members in grave danger. While the congress members are safe in their offices, and protected by security on Capital Hill, our service members are not allowed to fight the war in a way where we have the ability to win it.

    If this were not bad enough, the author correctly points out that the military attorney’s have lived in a protected bubble and are just as ignorant to what fighting a war is like. Our country needs to decide if we are going to fight the war to win or not. If we are not then don’t start and get out of any conflict that we don’t have the will to win.

    One final point, the JAG that is prosecuting these service members are the same group that prosecuted LTC Lakin and were fine with LTC Lakin not being allowed to present a defense. It appears that the judges hearing these cases were also never in combat.

    With this kind of treatment why would anyone make the decision to enlist in our military?

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